With high gas prices, the cost and quality of food today we are all searching for ways to cut cost and provide our family with healthy fresh food. Here at the farm I am fortunate enough to grow enough food for myself and to share with my family. I have many years experience growing natural and organic fruits and vegetables. Although I am not a master gardener I feel pretty confident that I can provide you with information to help you get started.
Below this post you’ll see a comments section and a box to subscribe to comments. This post will act as an interactive discussion where you and others can ask questions or share your own links and information. Rather then post a multi page article on ALL your gardening options we’ll start with the basics and then wait for questions posted below and follow up post. If you subscribe to comments below you’ll receive an email each time someone post to this topic.
How do you grow an organic garden?
I admit that not every single thing that I do in my garden is considered organic by USDA standards. I may use a professional planting mix (Not miracle gro) and occasionally I will mulch with newspaper. What I won’t use is pesticides or chemical fertilizers. Few people realize the overall effects on your soil condition and food from chemicalfertilizers not mention what it does to wildlife. Before we begin it’s important that you read : Harmful Effects of Miracle Gro
The simplest and most effective way to grow fruits and vegetables is in a raised bed or containers. It’s much easier to control weeds and the condition the soil. You can also grow in 5 gallon buckets or anything that holds soil.
How much sunlight is in the area you wish to place your garden? You need at least 6-8 hours of natural light per day.
In the ground or in a bed? Most of my gardening is done intensively in raised beds and automated irrigation. I find this way quicker, easier and produces larger crops. A bed can be made of anything, however stay away from pressure treated woods or they will leech harmful chemicals into your soil. I use white cedar, however this is expensive. Maybe others here have ideas? VERY IMPORTANT- always line the bottom and sides with weed cloth or nursery ground cover. Otherwise you’ll have weeds and grass growing straight up into your beds.
Using Straw Bales. Put down some weed cloth or ground cover. Sit straw bales on them. Do not take off the twine. Put top soil and compost smeared all on top, dig out holes into the straw with a spade and plant your seedlings in this. Then set up soaker hoses pinning it down on top, next to your plants and set up a simple timer on your facet to the hoses. Be sure to fertilize often because it runs down into the straw. This works great. It drains well and the roots get plenty of air.
What type of soil? Although you can grow in almost anything that drains, soil PH and balance is important. I also want a mix that will help save on watering. I like to use something you can get at a large Nursery call Sunshine Pro Mix 1. It comes in a 2 cubic foot bale. It cost about 30 bucks but it will fill a average size bed and go a long way. It also is a soiless mix containing peat, perlite, mosses. In the long run you’ll save money and time. You can however purchase bags of top soil, manure and compost to make your own. have at it! If you have a lot of beds, a large garden then this could be a process, building your soil. We’ll get into compost soon. Deciding to use organic potting soil is a personal choice. The truth is you can use almost anything if you’re willing to amend the soil so that it can provide nutrients to your plants.
More coming soon. Please feel free to start posting your questions below. I’ll keep add to this post and be sure to check the comments for post and replies.